Tags: free | Internet | content | pay

Buzzfeed: Wave a Long Goodbye to Free Internet Content

By    |   Monday, 29 July 2013 08:03 AM

The free trial period of the Internet got consumers everywhere hopelessly addicted, but now it's coming to an end and it's time to start paying for content, according to an analysis by Buzzfeed.

Since it caught on in a big way about 12 years ago, the Internet has tended to emasculate nearly every form of traditional media, taking away advertising, jobs and bottom lines, Buzzfeed noted.

Indeed, the mantra of a "free and open web" was evident for a long while in the rise of such phenomena as open-source software, online encyclopedia Wikipedia and countless pieces of music, video, data and information.

Forbes Columnist:
‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’

"Regular internet users came to expect that almost every type of media they once paid for — music, movies, news — would be available for free, legally or otherwise," Buzzfeed said.

Now, however, gratis web content appears to be increasingly replaced by paywalls and monthly fees at a rapid pace.

Buzzfeed said the trend toward paid Internet services actually started in 2003 with the launch of Apple's iTunes music store. As it turned out, the price point of 99-cent songs become a monster hit.

Ten years later, iTunes has sold more than 25 billion songs and recently celebrated 50 billion app downloads.

The success of iTunes paved the way for the towering success of companies like Amazon and Netflix, Buzzfeed stated. Netflix alone has an estimated 30 million paid subscribers now.

Even news media is finally getting in on the paid act. Over 450 of the 1,380 U.S. dailies have digital paywalls in effect or in planning, the Pew Research Center estimated.

"It's a huge sea change," Magid Advisors President Mike Vorhaus told Buzzfeed. "I would have told you five years ago that the paid content world had a dismal future. Now, I'd say that paid media is in the second inning, and there's still a lot of runs and at-bats coming down the road."

In a note of irony, paidContent.org reported that AllRecipes.com, a free recipe website launched 16 years ago, is about to make its print debut.

Meredith will start publishing AllRecipes magazine this fall, paidContent said, as a bi-monthly publication. Circulation tests generated about 400,000 paid orders, according to Meredith.

Meredith acquired Allrecipes from Readers Digest for $175 million in 2012. The company said the Allrecipes network of sites gets more than a billion visits per year.

Forbes Columnist: ‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’

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The free trial period of the Internet got consumers everywhere hopelessly addicted, but now it's coming to an end and it's time to start paying for content, according to an analysis by Buzzfeed.
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2013-03-29
Monday, 29 July 2013 08:03 AM
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